Obviously, we've gone through the whole cool-jobs thing. But what does amaze me is some of the other people in the room. Folks who have covered training camps for years and years.
My colleague, Byron, and I discussed this the other day. How do you keep it fresh?
Sure, there's news on some days that simply must be written - players get hurt or demoted or into a skirmish - but on other days, there's not that must-have news element. A team goes out and practices and, well, that's that.
Sure, there are players and coaches with an interesting story. But profiling them is like lighting a match; once you use it, it's gone. I can't profile the same guy twice in one camp. And while there are a lot of folks on the team now that won't be when the regular season kicks off, not all of them make for great stories. (It's been my philosophy that I'll get those guys while they're around, because a feature on them won't do much good after they're cut.)
Now, we're entering the second week at camp. We've burned some of the better stories we could come up with (Australian punter, DC native trying out for the Redskins, two undrafted offensive line rookies on the same NFL team - on the opposite coast).
Now, what do we do when there's no appreciable news and the best stories have been told?
I suppose that's the job of a reporter but honestly, not one that I've ever considered. In the world of covering high school sports, there's a lot more people and a wider range of teams - and stories - to choose from. It's easier to find a fish in a lake than in a small pond.
I do have some ideas that we didn't get to in the first week, but the pool is nowhere near as deep as it was seven days ago.
So, we'll see what happens. There's something to be said for recycling ideas, but there's a limit to that. And it takes a few years' experience to be able to find ideas to recycle in the first place - years of experience I don't really have.
But I guess it's my job to find it. So that's what I'll do.